Increasing trend in ManipurRamp up testing, vaccination
It is becoming more and more clear and the Government of Manipur must have already heard the rumblings from the virus. New records are being written and rewritten all within a span of 24 hours and so it is that from a record of 1007 positive cases on May 29, Manipur saw a new record being inked on May 30 with the number of positive cases put at 1032. It is in taking cognizance of this ugly reality that random testing has kick started at Ukhrul district headquarters and Imphal West is set to follow suit from June 1. Again it was not without any reason why the Director of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) Dr Surjeet K Singh had as early as May 19 suggested that there should be a ramp up of RAT testing and vaccination in rural areas as the spread has gone to pockets in the North East which are difficult to reach in terms of Geography. The observation of the Director of NCDC came close on the heels of the prognosis from the University of Michigan which predicted that the virus will spread fast before they are detected and this is what seems to be happening here with reports coming in of all family members of a single household testing positive. The study was based on samples or cases from Assam which noted the fast spread of the disease, but Assam cannot be seen in isolation of its immediate neighbours and Manipur happens to be one of the States in the North East region, which is a close neighbour, geographically and otherwise. The statistics should tell its own story. The number of positive cases in the last of couple of days has always been in the range of 700 to 800 with two days crossing the four figure mark. And making things all that more disturbing is the high incidence of the positive cases from amongst the samples tested. To cite an example, of the 6,393 samples tested for the virus, 1032 tested positive, according to the report received on May 30, which meant that 16.14 percent of the samples tested returned positive.
Disturbing figures and making it all that more uncomfortable is the observation of the Chief Medical Officer of Ukhrul district, who held that some of the primary reasons for the spread of the virus at the said district headquarters is the propensity of the people there to resort to home remedy instead of getting themselves tested. Add the reluctance of the people to approach the health centres to get their samples tested and a near perfect ground for the virus to spread may have been scripted. Like Ukhrul district, other districts in Manipur too must have their own peculiarities and this must be taken cognizance of. At the moment, Imphal East and Imphal West are leading the table of positive cases, but other districts too are reeling under the impact of the virus. Thoubal, Churachandpur, Ukhrul, Kangpokpi, Kakching are some districts that come to mind and this is where the Government will need to ramp up testing and add more punch to the vaccination drive. Ukhrul has already started and one hopes it is not a one day exercise but will cover all the suspect cases. Imphal West is set to follow suit and one hopes that the people extend their co-operation and come for the testing. This is where the Government will need to take all the MLAs along with them and strike a united front against the rampaging virus which has been infecting at will and yes claiming lives too.